Top Five Tips to Buying a New Home in 2010

publication date: Jan 5, 2010
author/source: Kate Faulkner, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books

Kate’s Top Five Tips for Buying a New Home!

Developers are often criticised for building homes which are ‘too small’. However, the room sizes of the average new build are no smaller than a Victorian two or three bed terrace, or even a 1950s home. The only homes which were built bigger were those built when we had lots of land in the 1930s and 1970s. A lot of the time, what is built where is dictated to the developer by the local planning authority who give guidelines on what and how many properties they want built.

New builds do have a big advantage to buyers, especially at the moment. Firstly they are priced at similar levels to second hand homes (normally there is a 10-20% premium). Secondly they typically have lower utility bills than an existing home and finally, if you are struggling to sell, some developers will consider buying your home if it costs less than theirs.

So follow my five top tips to buying yourself a lovely, brand new home!

1.      If you are buying off plan, make sure you have an independent legal company check the contract out (not a developer’s recommended legal company) as there are likely to be clauses that favour the developer and not you. For example, you have to complete when they want you to – not when you are ready!

2.      Do make sure the developer knows you can afford the home and visit not just the show home but the rest of the site if you can. Ask for similar sites nearby where the SAME SITE MANAGER has been in charge – good site managers make good new builds. Bad new builds are built by poor site managers!

3.      Try to buy at an ‘accounting year or half year end’. Developers will offer their best deals at this time.

4.      Only sign a contract subject to a successful ‘snagging survey’ – the average four bed new build has over EIGHTY defects. It may be structurally OK, but if it’s badly painted and the doors don’t fit it’s very irritating and time consuming to get things fixed when the developer already has your money!

5.      Make sure your car fits in the garage – some are being built too small.

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